At minimum, three months is required for the examination and grading of a doctoral dissertation, and often more time is needed.
Instructions for revising the manuscript for pre-examination
- It is advisable for the author of a doctoral dissertation to obtain oral permission from supervisors to submit the manuscript for preliminary evaluation.
- Plagiarism detection must be carried out before submitting the doctoral dissertation for assessment. The principle supervisor provides the doctoral candidate with the title of the Moodle course and the course key, enabling to find the Turnitin plagiarism detection tool. Supervisor(s) check the plagiarism detection report and, if necessary, go through the results with doctoral candidate.
- The cover sheet of the manuscript must bear the title of the doctoral dissertation, the author's name and student number, major subject and date of submission for examination (e.g. January 2018).
- The manuscript must include an abstract approximately one page in length.
- The table of contents should correspond to the manuscript’s main chapter and subchapter numbering as well as titling and manuscript pagination.
- Text settings: Page margins 2–2.5 cm; Font of a readable size, e.g. Times New Roman 12 or equivalent; Line spacing recommendation 1.5 (line spacing 1 is also possible if the manuscript is long).
- The recommendations of one’s own scientific field can be used in references and bibliographies. It is important that the notation style is logical and similar throughout the entire manuscript.
- An article based research must include a list of articles or manuscripts contained within the thesis. Articles must be attached to the manuscript.
Pre-evaluation process and permission for a public examination
- Author of a doctoral dissertation submits the manuscript for evaluation in one pdf-document to the postgraduate amanuensis, e-mail: FiloDoctoralstudies@uef.fi. At the same time, s/he applies for permission for a public examination with the form.
- Head of the department and the supervisor present the pre-examiners.
- Dean decides on the pre-examiners.
- Amanuensis delivers the decision and pdf-manuscript to the pre-examiners. The paper copies of the manuscript will be asked from the author of doctoral dissertation if needed.
- Doctoral candidate is not permitted to be in contact with the pre-examiners during this process.
- Pre-examiners write statements in which they recommend either that permission for a public examination of the dissertation be granted or refused. The pre-examiners have approximately two months to write the statements (for holiday times or some other particular reasons evaluation may occasionally last longer).
- Amanuensis delivers the pre-examiners’ statements to the author of the doctoral dissertation.
- Author reports if s/he has any remarks on the statements.
- Dean either grants or denies permission for a public examination.
- Please note that if the pre-examiners’ statements are negative, the pre-evaluation may be interrupted by decision of the dean upon written request by the author of the doctoral dissertation.
Examination and grading of the doctoral dissertation
- After having received permission for a public examination, the doctoral candidate makes the possible corrections to the manuscript.
- Doctoral candidate is responsible for arranging the publication and delivery of the doctoral dissertation. The doctoral dissertation can be published under the faculty's publication series or by an external publishing house. See faculty’s instructions on publishing under the web page of the doctoral programme.
- When the dissertation date is agreed, the doctoral candidate or custos asks department secretary Tuula Nissinen to reserve the auditorium for public examination. Ms Nissinen also looks after the hall arrangements on the dissertation date as well as the examiners’ travel and accommodation arrangements.
- Head of the department and supervisor proposes the dissertation date, venue, examiner(s), representative of the faculty and custos.
- Dean makes the decision regarding the dissertation date, venue, examiner, representative of the faculty and custos.
- Coffee service after the public examination and the post-doctoral party, karonkka, are arranged and financed by the doctoral candidate.
- After the public examination, the examiner(s) and faculty representative write statements with proposal of grading.
- Amanuensis delivers the statements to the doctoral candidate.
- Doctoral candidate reports if s/he has anything to remark on the statements.
- On the basis of the statements, the Faculty Council assesses the doctoral dissertation with grading I–L.
The University of Eastern Finland uses an electronic plagiarism detection system, Turnitin. In addition to verifying the originality of a thesis, the system can also be used to guide doctoral candidates towards the correct quotation and referencing practices required in high-quality academic texts.
The Turnitin system has been integrated into the Moodle online learning environment.
- The principal supervisor provides the doctoral candidate with the title of the Moodle course and the course key, enabling him/her to find the Turnitin plagiarism detection tool.
- Doctoral candidate submits his/her texts to the Turnitin tool as a single doc or docx file. Doctoral candidate should note that one of the Turnitin tools will save the doctoral candidate's work and the other one will not.
- Doctoral candidate must inform their principal supervisor once the Turnitin report is completed.
- Plagiarism detection must be carried out before submitting the licentiate thesis for assessment. If the authors of theses wish, they may save or archive their work in the Turnitin database at this stage.
- Plagiarism detection must be carried out before submitting the doctoral dissertation for assessment. If the authors of doctoral dissertations wish, they may save or archive the work in the Turnitin database at this stage.
- In the case of doctoral dissertations and licentiate theses consisting of articles, only previously unpublished texts will be checked, i.e., the summary and any previously unpublished articles. They must be submitted in the Turnitin tool as a single file!
- If significant changes are made to the doctoral dissertation after the preliminary assessment, the author should run the plagiarism check again before publishing the work.
- Principal supervisor checks the plagiarism detection report and, if necessary, goes through the results with the doctoral candidate. The principal supervisor must check the report within two weeks of its completion and the notification received from the doctoral candidate.
- The doctoral candidate will make corrections to his/her work according to any feedback given. After corrections, the work can only be submitted for plagiarism detection only one more time.
- Before the assessment process, the principal supervisor will inform the faculty administration in writing of whether, in his/her opinion and based on the plagiarism detection report, the work is acceptable.
- The reports are stored for one year.
- If s/he wishes, doctoral candidate may run the Turnitin tool on their texts at various stages of the research process. We recommend that authors of licentiate theses and doctoral dissertations check any articles intended for the thesis in students' Turnitin before sending the work to publishers.
For more information you may turn to Amanuensis, FiloDoctoralstudies@uef.fi
A doctoral dissertation is defined as a coherent scholarly presentation based on independent research and producing new knowledge in the field. It may be a monograph or consist of a compilation of published scholarly articles or manuscripts on the same general topic, together with a summary.
The article-based dissertation manuscript contains minimum of three articles, from which two are published and one is accepted for publication. The summary must present the background to the research and its aims, methods, and results. The articles may include collaborative work, but the independent parts of the work by the candidate must be clearly identifiable. An article-based dissertation may not include material from any previous dissertation by the candidate. The pre-examiner must present his/her evaluation of the scholarly level of the dissertation as a whole, regardless of whether the articles have been previously published. The report should take a stand on whether the compilation of articles forms a sufficiently broad and complete entity. The candidate is not expected to rewrite published articles in order to create a consistent monograph. Repetitions and overlap between the articles dealing with the same topic should not, therefore, be judged too harshly.
The examination process of a doctoral dissertation is divided into two stages: the preliminary examination and the public examination.
Each manuscript is appointed with two pre-examiners who are expected to submit an individual report on the manuscript. The pre-examiner must clearly recommend either that permission for a public examination of the dissertation be granted or refused. S/he should state whether the manuscript in its current state, or after minor corrections, meets the minimum requirements of a doctoral dissertation. The pre-examination is, thus, a process of acceptance or rejection. It is possible for a dissertation to be rejected at its public examination, but this is extremely rare and should be avoided. The pre-examiners play an important role in ensuring that a manuscript with serious shortcomings does not get as far as the public examination.
The pre-examiner must recommend that permission to defend the dissertation be denied if it is clear that the work does not contain new scholarly knowledge based on original, independent research. Other major shortcomings that would be expected to lead to a negative report include:
- the research has clearly problems with ethical principles
- the theoretical framework of the manuscript is clearly inadequate
- the research material is too insubstantial for a doctoral dissertation
- there are significant gaps in the candidate’s familiarity with the relevant literature
- there are other indications of incomplete work.
On the other hand, a positive report need not be withheld on account of defects that can be relatively easily corrected by simple editing, supplying additional material, or filling minor gaps in references to the literature and so on.
A negative report generally leads to the examination process being temporary halted at the request of the candidate. After the manuscript has been corrected and the supervisor of the dissertation recommends that it is ready for a new preliminary examination, the Dean appoints the same or new pre-examiners. A doctoral candidate may discontinue the assessment of his/her final thesis only once.
The report of the pre-examiner should be from three to five pages long. The time taken to produce it should not, without good reasons, exceed two months. It is requested that the deadline for the report be observed, so that the examination process may continue without unreasonable delay. The report may contain recommendations for correction and improvement. If the pre-examiner wishes to point out minor errors, s/he may append a list of corrections and return the manuscript with annotations to the faculty, which forwards the list or the returned manuscript to the candidate.
Dissertations written in other language than candidate’s native language
When a manuscript is submitted for the preliminary examination, it may still lack a professional language check. It is the candidate’s responsibility to ensure that the dissertation is corrected by a competent expert of the language after the preliminary examination. The pre-examiners need not, therefore, make corrections to the language. However, if the pre-examiner feels that the language used has some effect on the scholarly value of the work, s/he may comment on it.
The faculty pays particular attention to the impartiality and transparency of the preliminary examination process. The pre-examiner is an expert appointed to the task by the faculty, and in order to avoid any legal problems concerning the dissertation, s/he should therefore deliver the report directly and exclusively to the faculty. The faculty will send a copy of the report to the candidate. The candidate has the right to send comments on the report to the Dean before s/he decides whether to grant permission to defend the dissertation.
After the preliminary examination, the pre-examiners no longer have the right or duty to ensure that the suggested corrections have been made. Responsibility for implementing the corrections belongs to the candidate and his/her supervisor, and ultimately to the opponent.
The dissertation receives its final approval and grade from the Faculty Council after the public examination.
Please, send your signed statement to:
University of Eastern Finland
P.O. Box 111
FI-80101 Joensuu, FINLAND
Should you have any questions, please contact amanuensis Salli Anttonen
Tel. +358 50 367 0127
In matters relating to the payment of your fee, please contact:
Human Resources Secretary Lea Pulli
Definition of a Doctoral Dissertation
A doctoral dissertation is a coherent presentation of new scientific knowledge, which is based on the doctoral candidate’s independent research. A doctoral dissertation may be published either as a monograph or as an article-based dissertation.
An article-based dissertation must consist of a minimum of three refereed articles of which two are required to be already published and one approved for publication. Articles published in advance electronically by publication series are deemed as published. If the articles include co-authored publications, the author of the doctoral dissertation must clearly identify his/her independent contribution to them either in the manuscript summary or in a separate appendix. The author of the doctoral dissertation needs to be the first author of a minimum of three articles. A co-authored publication may be included in no more than two person’s licentiate theses or doctoral dissertations.
Examination and Grading of a Dissertation
A doctoral dissertation is examined in two stages, of which the first is the preliminary reading and the second is the public examination. Based on the statements of the preliminary examiners, the Dean shall give the doctoral candidate permission to defend the dissertation in a public examination, after which the Dean will set a date and venue for the public examination. The Dean shall also appoint one or two opponents, the representative of the faculty, and the custos.
The custos is usually the doctoral candidate’s supervising professor and his/her task shall be to lead the progression of the public examination. The opponent shall be a person who does not belong to the University of Eastern Finland, and s/he shall hold the qualification of a docent (an adjunct professor) or equivalent scientific competence. A person who has co-authored publications with the doctoral candidate in the topic of the dissertation or who has been involved in research projects with the doctoral candidate during the candidate’s doctoral studies may not be appointed as the opponent. Furthermore, a person who is otherwise disqualified may not be appointed as the opponent. The representative of the faculty shall be a person who at a minimum holds a doctoral degree and represents the doctoral candidate’s field of research or a related field. The faculty’s representative shall become familiar with the doctoral dissertation and follow the progression of the public examination. After the public examination, the custos, the opponent(s) and the faculty's representative shall get together to discuss the grade of the dissertation. The custos shall write a statement concerning the progression of the public examination. Both the opponent(s) and the faculty’s representative shall issue their own written statements concerning the dissertation and its examination after the public examination.
In their statements, the opponent(s) and the faculty representative propose one of the following grades to the approved dissertation: approbatur, lubenter approbatur, non sine laude approbatur, cum laude approbatur, magna cum laude approbatur, eximia cum laude approbatur or laudatur. Before the dissertation is graded, the doctoral candidate must be reserved the opportunity to write a rejoinder to the statements. The faculty council will grade the dissertation on the basis of these statements.
Evaluation criteria of the doctoral dissertation
- In grading a doctoral dissertation, the following points in particular must be taken into account:
The topic and research problem of the research project and narrowing the research problem
The topic has significant information value and generates new information in the field of research or opens a new line of research. The research tasks and questions have been appropriately narrowed down. The research project has a meaningful connection to earlier research.
- Conceptual clarity
The concepts used in the research project are clear and justified. They have been analysed and assessed critically and extensively with the help of high-quality scientific literature.
- Research methodology and methods
The research project is methodologically justified. The researcher demonstrates his/her knowledge of earlier theoretical and methodological discussion. The methods employed in the research project are described and their choice is explained. The researcher demonstrates that the methods can be used to solve the research problems which have been set.
The material used in the research project is of high quality. It is relevant and sufficient in light of the research topic.
- Reporting the results and conclusions
In light of the research tasks, the results have been reported in a logical way from multiple viewpoints. The significance of the results to the field has been assessed in a relevant manner. The research report lists the most important questions for future research. The social and international significance of the research project is assessed.
- The dissertation in general and its presentation
The research project is a logical entity both in terms of structure and argumentation, and the language is clear and readable. The text focuses on essential questions. The research project has been completed independently and it demonstrates independent critical thinking towards earlier research, research methods and research concepts.
Grading scale of the doctoral dissertation
In the Philosophical Faculty, the following grades may be awarded to a dissertation. A requirement for all grades is that the study conducted must comply with good research ethics in all respects.
The dissertation has an ambitious topic and, in light of the criteria above, its merits are exceptional.
- Eximia cum laude approbatur
The dissertation has several significant merits in light of the evaluation criteria above without deficiencies which would nullify them.
- Magna cum laude approbatur
The dissertation has significant merits in light of the evaluation criteria above without deficiencies which would nullify them.
- Cum laude approbatur
The dissertation meets the evaluation criteria above. The merits of the research may compensate for deficiencies in meeting some of the above-mentioned criteria.
- Non sine laude approbatur
The dissertation meets the faculty’s specifications for a doctoral dissertation. The research is mostly well conducted, but the dissertation has deficiencies in meeting the above-mentioned criteria with no merits which would significantly compensate for them.
- Lubenter approbatur
The dissertation meets the faculty’s specifications for a doctoral dissertation, but it has several significant deficiencies in meeting the above-mentioned criteria with no merits which would sufficiently compensate for them.
The dissertation meets sufficiently the faculty’s specifications for a doctoral dissertation, but it has several serious deficiencies.
Please send your signed statement to:
University of Eastern Finland
P.O. Box 111
FI-80101 Joensuu, FINLAND
Should you have any questions, please contact the custos or Amanuensis Salli Anttonen
Tel. +358 50 367 0127
In matters relating to the payment of your fee, please contact:
Human Resources Secretary Lea Pulli